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The BITSAVERS.ORG Documents Library: Western Digital

Western Digital Corporation (often abbreviated to WDC or WD) is one of the largest computer hard disk drive (along with Seagate Technology) manufacturers in the world. It has a long history in the electronics industry as an integrated circuit maker and a storage products company. Western Digital was founded on April 23, 1970 by Alvin B. Phillips, a Motorola employee, as General Digital, initially (and briefly) a manufacturer of MOS test equipment. It rapidly became a speciality semiconductor maker, with start-up capital provided by several individual investors and industrial giant Emerson Electric Company. Around July 1971, it adopted its current name and soon introduced its first product, the WD1402A UART.

Through the early years of the 1970s, WDC made their money by selling calculator chips; by 1975, they were the largest independent calculator chip maker in the world. The oil crisis of the mid-1970s and the bankruptcy of its biggest calculator customer, Bowmar Instrument, changed its fortunes, however. In 1976, Western Digital declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After this, Emerson withdrew their support of the company, and WDC was on its own.

WDC introduced several landmark products during this time, including the MCP-1600 multi-chip, microcoded CPU. The MCP-1600 was used to implement DEC's LSI-11 system and their own Pascal MicroEngine microcomputer which ran the UCSD p-System Version III and UCSD Pascal. The processor was also used in several single-chip floppy disk drive controller chips, notably the FD1771.

The WD1771 and its kin were WDC's first entry into the data storage industry; by the early 1980s, they were making hard disk drive controllers, and in 1983, they won the contract to provide IBM with controllers for the PC/AT. That controller, the WD1003, became the basis of the ATA interface (which WDC developed along with Compaq and Control Data Corporation's MPI division, now owned by Seagate Technology), starting in 1986. Throughout most of the 1980s, the family of controllers based on the WD1003 provided the bulk of WDC's revenues and profits, and for a time generated enormous corporate growth.

Much of the mid-to-late 1980s saw an effort by WDC to use the profits from their ATA storage controllers to become a general-purpose OEM hardware supplier for the PC industry. As a result, WDC purchased a number of hardware companies. These included graphics cards (through their Paradise subsidiary, purchased 1986), core logic chipsets (by purchasing Faraday Electronics Inc. in 1987), SCSI controller chips for disk and tape devices (by purchasing ADSI in 1986), networking (WD8003, WD8013 Ethernet and WD8003S StarLAN). They did well (especially Paradise, which produced one of the best VGA cards of the era), but storage-related chips and disk controllers were their biggest money makers. In 1986, they introduced the WD33C93 single-chip SCSI interface, which was used in the first 16-bit bus mastering SCSI host adapter, the WD7000 "FASST"; in 1987 they introduced the WD37C65, a single-chip implementation of the PC/AT's floppy disk controller circuitry, and the grandfather of modern super I/O chips; in 1988 they introduced the WD42C22 "Vanilla", the first single-chip ATA hard disk controller.

1988 also brought what would be the biggest change in WDC's history. That year, WDC bought the hard drive production assets of PC hardware maker Tandon; the first products of that union under WDC's own name were the "Centaur" series of ATA and XT attachment drives.

Western Digital Caviar280 (WDAC280-32) - 85.3 MB (mounted on a third party 5.25" bay adapter bracket) By 1991, things were starting to slow down, as the PC industry moved from ST-506 and ESDI drives to ATA and SCSI, and thus were buying fewer hard disk controller boards. That year saw the rise of WDC's Caviar drives, brand new designs that used the latest in embedded servo and computerized diagnostic systems.

Eventually, Caviar drives were selling so well that WD started to dispose of its other divisions. Paradise was sold to Philips (and has since disappeared). Its networking and floppy drive controller divisions went to SMC Networks and its SCSI chip business went to market leader Adaptec. Around 1995 the technological lead that the Caviar drives had enjoyed was eclipsed by newer offerings from other companies, especially Quantum Corp., and WDC fell into a slump.

Products and ideas of this time didn't go far. The Portfolio drive (a 3-inch (76 mm) form factor model, developed with JT Storage) was a flop, as was the SDX hard disk to CD-ROM interface. WDC's drives started to slip further behind products by other makers, and quality began to suffer, system builders and PC enthusiasts who used to recommend WD above all else, were going to the competition, particularly Maxtor, whose products had improved significantly by the late 1990s.

In an attempt to turn the tide in 1998, WD recruited the help of IBM. This agreement gave WD the rights to use certain IBM technologies, including giant magneto-resistive (GMR) heads, and access to IBM production facilities. The result was the Expert line of drives, introduced in early 1999. The idea worked, and WD regained much respect in the press and among users, even despite a recall in 2000 (which was due to bad motor driver chips). WDC has since broken ties to IBM.

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From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1986 Storage Management Products Handbook
Topics: data, command, sector, write, disk, error, drive, controller, winchester, disk controller,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1984 Western Digital Communications Products
Topics: data, character, frame, receiver, interrupt, control, clock, output, transmitter, western digital,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD90 Pascal Microengine :: WD9693 PasIII OSref Jul82
Topics: file, command, program, text, cursor, prompt, segment, code, system, pascal, operating system, code...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDynex :: Series 6000 Instruction Manual Rev N Mar77
Topics: disk, drive, pwb, dynex, perri, servo, data, head, cartridge, positioner, disk drive, perri...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD90 Pascal Microengine :: Pascal MICROENGINE RefMan Mar79
Topics: file, pascal, command, typing, data, cursor, port, prompt, program, floppy disk, serial port, file...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1983 Western Digital Network Products Handbook
Topics: data, frame, link, cpu, network, received, control, dma, transmitted, western digital, status...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernElectric :: WE 32-Bit Microprocessors and Peripherals Aug87
Topics: data, address, microprocessor, byte, devices, mmu, halfword, instruction, bus, memory, dram...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD100x :: 80-031003-00 A1 WD1001 OEM Manual Feb83
Topics: data, error, sector, command, write, byte, status, host, status register, error bit, busy bit, bad...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: wd1983catalog 01
Topics: data, error, nsec, logic, sector, command, write, output, pin, western digital, digital...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD2511 WD2840 Technical Package Apr84
Topics: frame, data, cpu, buffer, dma, host, transmit, address, link, data frame, token pass, cpu clock,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD100x :: 61-031050-0030 WD1002-05 HDO OEM Manual Jul83
Topics: sector, data, host, error, command, buffer, floppy, disk, write, sector buffer, task file, status...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDynex :: Series 6000 Instruction Manual Rev P Oct78
Topics: disk, drive, dynex, pwb, head, servo, data, positioner, cartridge, series, disk drive, perri...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernPeripherals :: TC131 logic Mar81
Topics: gnp, drawing, mir, csa, revisions, scale, pbus, peripherals, tape, connector, gnp gnp, scale...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: FE3600 :: WD FE3600 AT Chipset Jun88
Topics: data, memory, address, dma, mhz, cpu, bus, control, mode, control logic, data buffer, memory...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD7000 :: WD7000-ASE ESDI Controller Section 8801
Topics: command, host, wdc, mail, cdb, controller, commands, esdi, reserved, status, mail box, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernElectric :: mac-8 :: PA-800515 MAC-8 TUTOR Jul79
Topics: goto, program, mac, address, memory, tutor, prom, digits, tty, mac tutor, executive program, tutor...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD100x :: WD1000 OEMmanual
Topics: data, error, sector, command, crc, vco, byte, host, status register, busy bit, error bit, task...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD100x :: 79-000029 WD1002S-WX2 XT MFM OEM Manual Jul85
Topics: data, host, command, error, drive, sector, ecc, bios, buffer, disk, sector buffer, error codes,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD7000 :: 96-000494X3 WD7000-ASC Engineering Spec Aug88
Topics: host, command, asc, scsi, data, byte, interrupt, engineering, status, dma, data buffer, engineering...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD16 ProgrammersRef
Topics: set, code, byte, codes, destination, indicators, reset, dst, power fail, bit shifted, reg bit,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernElectric :: WE DSP-16 DSP Information Manual Jan89
Topics: data, instruction, parallel, serial, device, rom, interrupt, address, input, instruction set, data...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: 90C33 High Performance VGA Controller 1993
Topics: bits, bit, mode, cursor, memory, color, registers, address, port, bit function, local bus, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: wd1984storageProducts 01
Topics: data, command, write, status, track, interrupt, sector, crc, status bit, data register, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: wd1984storageProducts 03
Topics: data, error, port, ram, host, sector, address, bits, command, byte, sector address, logical sector,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 18 WD90C31
Topics: port, bits, bit, cursor, bitblt, mode, color, registers, memory, bit function, vertical retrace,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernPeripherals :: 130015 TC-130 PDP-11 Logic Manual Feb77
Topics: revisions, scale, approvals, ltr, fractions, assy, unltss, drawing, rev, tolerances, revisions ltr,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: wd1984storageProducts 02
Topics: data, sector, command, buffer, input, output, logic, write, cylinder, western digital, digital...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 07 WD7710
Topics: mode, cpuclk, port, address, bus, sysclk, interrupt, rise, clock, chip select, port address,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernElectric :: mac-8 :: PA-800516 MAC8 SelfTraining
Topics: address, instruction, program, contents, data, port, tty, addresses, code, control word,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD57C65 Floppy Disk Subsystem Controller May88
Topics: data, command, status, fdc, ibm, signal, tsb, reset, status register, data rate, read data, main...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: wd1983catalog 02
Topics: data, command, write, status, track, interrupt, crc, sector, status bit, data register, address...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 00 Introduction
Topics: digital, cmos, western, micron, controller, cache, interarchitecture, cpu, design, dma, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernElectric :: mac-8 :: PA-800517 MAC8 Opcode Dec78
Topics: offset, stack, memory, increment, indirect, automatic, direct, subtract, exclusive, offset memory,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernPeripherals :: TC-130 Brochure
Topics: tape, peripherals, western, magnetic, nrz, status, dec, drives, compatible, controller, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernElectric :: 3b20s :: 234-301-910WE 3B20S System Index and Description Jul81
Topics: processor, system, peripheral, file, disk, unit, controller, control, description, store, system...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 22 WD33C92A
Topics: command, scsi, data, transfer, phase, low, ack, bus, byte, scsi bus, command phase, phase register,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD90 Pascal Microengine :: M0017 H3sysTN Jul82
Topics: winchester, segment, disk, system, configuration, floppy, software, boot, program, configure,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD100x :: WD1002-SHD OEMmanualAug1984
Topics: data, command, error, sector, byte, host, drive, address, controller, ecc, sector address, logical...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 25 WD37C65C
Topics: data, command, status, fdc, gpl, sto, eot, dtl, mode, status register, sto sto, gpl gpl, eot eot,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD7000 :: WD7000-ASE ESDI Controller Section 8804
Topics: command, wdc, host, mail, cdb, controller, commands, esdi, status, reserved, mail box, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 08 WD7910
Topics: address, port, cpuclk, mode, bus, sysclk, interrupt, clock, select, chip select, port address,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 19 WD90C55
Topics: lcd, unused, color, interface, stn, tft, mode, advanced, data, panel, color lcd, unused unused, tft...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 32 Appendix
Topics: digital, anthem, western, wyle, zentronics, appendix, irvine, distributors, center, jersey, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 21 WD10C27
Topics: frequency, data, nrz, synthesizer, vco, specifications, window, dac, output, registers, window...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: FD179X Application Notes Jun80
Topics: data, command, rclk, pulse, clk, write, interrupt, pulses, precomp, bit cell, raw read, floppy...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 16 WD90C26
Topics: interface, memory, video, pin, dram, data, bus, panel, system, color, micro channel, video memory,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 27 WD60C31B
Topics: data, byte, resync, address, sync, sector, bytes, pll, crc, address mark, sector mark, disk...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernPeripherals :: TC131 hardware Apr81
Topics: controller, tape, data, drive, select, bus, vector, byte, parity, interrupt, tape drive, drive...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD90 Pascal Microengine :: H3 SWsysTechNotes
Topics: floppy, disk, winchester, thie, boot, software, code, diskette, hinchester, operatinq, winchester...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 29 WD60C80
Topics: data, bytes, syndrome, cdack, ecc, byte, dma, fifo, min, nsec, data field, controller bus, syndrome...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 17 WD90C30
Topics: bit, bits, port, mode, memory, registers, vertical, address, enable, bit function, vertical...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 03 WD16C550
Topics: fifo, interrupt, modem, data, timing, bit, receiver, baud, transmitter, modem control, rcvr fifo,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernPeripherals :: TC131 logic Mar85
Topics: drawing, tape, revisions, assembly, connector, scale, adapter, cipher, schematic, jumper, scale...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 12 WD90C00
Topics: bit, mode, registers, bits, memory, color, vertical, port, video, bit function, vertical retrace,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernPeripherals :: TC-130 TechnicalDescr
Topics: tape, data, controller, parity, character, record, lpc, unit, command, tape unit, lpc character,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 01 WD16C451 WD16C551
Topics: fifo, data, interrupt, bit, modem, reset, timing, parallel, transmitter, parallel port, data bit,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 26 WD42C22C
Topics: buffer, data, host, sector, bit, timing, write, interface, byte, sector number, buffer manager,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 11 ICS90C64
Topics: vga, vclk, clock, mclk, input, inputs, circuit, digital, vselo, video, integrated circuit, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 06 WD76C30
Topics: interrupt, port, data, serial, fifo, parallel, clock, reset, modem, parallel port, serial port,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 24 WD33C95A WD33C96A
Topics: scsi, dma, esbc, microprocessor, signal, interface, port, description, pin, advanced, signal...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 05 WD76C20
Topics: fdc, data, csl, select, input, rtc, output, chip, timing, chip select, csl input, floppy disk,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 30 WD61C23A
Topics: buffer, host, data, microcontroller, interface, disk, asserted, description, address, dma, host...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 02 WD16C452 WD16C552
Topics: data, fifo, bit, interrupt, modem, reset, timing, parallel, port, parallel port, data bit, modem...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 14 WD90C20 WD90C20A
Topics: mode, bit, port, registers, memory, color, crt, display, vertical, bit function, vertical retrace,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD33C93A SCSI Bus Controller 1991
Topics: command, scsi, data, phase, transfer, bus, target, byte, low, scsi bus, command phase, phase...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 28 WD60C40A
Topics: channel, pcm, data, microprocessor, address, transfer, firmware, strobe, device, transfer counter,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 04 WD76C10A
Topics: cpuclk, mode, port, rise, address, bus, sysclk, interrupt, processor, operating characteristics,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 20 WD10C01A
Topics: data, control, byte, error, field, cpu, address, bit, instruction, control store, data field,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: WD7000 :: 79-000124 WD7000-ASC OEM Manual 1987
Topics: host, command, scsi, data, byte, reserved, dma, interrupt, buffer, icb, data buffer, mail box,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 15 WD90C22
Topics: mode, bit, port, registers, memory, color, vertical, display, bits, bit function, vertical retrace,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 23 WD33C93B
Topics: command, scsi, transfer, phase, data, host, ack, target, message, command phase, scsi bus, phase...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 31 WD61C40A
Topics: signal, buffer, disk, port, gnd, dma, host, microprocessor, interface, description, signal...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 13 WD90C11 WD90C11A
Topics: bit, registers, mode, bits, memory, color, vertical, port, enable, bit function, crt controller,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: dataBooks :: 1992 SystemLogic Imaging Storage :: 10 ICS90C63
Topics: vga, vclk, mclk, clock, input, inputs, vselo, circuit, digital, video, integrated circuit, western...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. westernDigital :: FD179X Data Sheets May80
Topics: data, command, write, track, crc, status, sector, reset, bytes, status bit, data register, write...